Van Sheets on why he wrote Rector Transitions:

Early in my own church’s search for a new rector, our team sought written advice and contacted clergy and lay leaders around the U.S. for their insights. We found excellent guidance and used it. We found some guidance that was questionable or dated, and put it aside.

We felt that our church’s ministries depended on a strong partnership between the rector and lay leadership, but 99% of written advice we found was from clergy. Some of it ignored the role of lay leadership and some simplistically told us to defer to the bishop. Fortunately some of it was thoughtful and based on successful track records.

Some of the advice led with, “Rector transitions are scary and hard; you must be afraid.” Well yeah, we felt risks and heavy responsibility on our shoulders, but we mainly felt hope and high expectations. We trusted God would guide us and that our transition was an opportunity for our wonderful church to grow and increase our ministries.

Our journey began in 2015 and the transition was a big success. Our new rector is integrated into our lives and the church is thriving.

I wrote Rector Transitions to share what I learned. I tried to make it:

  • Spiritually grounded – THE most critical factor

  • Comprehensive – covering all three stages of a successful transition (ending of the old time, in-between period, and integration of the new rector), and distilling advice from over 100 sources (over 80 listed in the bibliography)

  • Focused on successful lay leadership

  • Adaptable to the unique circumstances of thousands of individual churches

  • Practical – with 22 Tools at the back of the book and that can be downloaded to aid your thoroughness and save users’ administrative time

  • Concise